The Santa Clara Town Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 10, 2022, beginning at 5:00 PM at the Santa Clara Town Hall concerning proposed Local Law No. 2 of 2022. The proposed local law is for the purpose of regulating short-term rentals of residential property in the Town of Santa Clara.
Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular in the Upper Saranac Lake area. Communities Park-wide are in the midst of debates on the legality of such rentals, and the authority of municipalities to regulate them.
A link to the proposed law can be found here.
At the Public Hearing, all interested parties may comment. Comments may also be submitted in writing at the meeting or mailed to the Town Clerk in advance of the Public Hearing to the following address:
Santa Clara Town Clerk
5359 State Route 30
Saranac Lake, New York, 12983
Comments mailed to the Town Clerk must be received no later than 5:00 PM on February 9, 2022 in order to be considered.
Local governments have been reluctant to take a position, not wanting to place increased regulations and restrictions on their constituents. However, with an increasing number of residents voicing concerns over noise, parking, and trash, town officials are taking notice.
Residents are increasingly concerned that short-term rentals are being run by remote hosts and managers who don’t know or care who they rent to or how the guests use the property. The fear is that homes are being purchased exclusively as money-makers and that they will not be used as family residences. Some attribute this to area skyrocketing real estate prices and a trend away from long-term housing.
Because the Upper Saranac Foundation is charged with the protection of the water of the Upper Saranac Lake and its watershed, we are very supportive of those proposed parts of the Short-Term Rental Law that pertain to water quality.
The USF is in favor of provisions in the proposed law that address the proper size, functionality, and working order of septic systems. We believe that increased wastewater loads on outdated and, perhaps, failing septic systems have the potential to cause serious water quality problems. Historically septic systems on our Lake were installed for short-term use at small family weekend cottages. With continuous or excessive use these fragile systems can easily be overburdened. The waste associated with faulty overused septic systems can contaminate our watershed and can contribute to the creation of harmful algal blooms.
The USF and its donors have invested tremendous amounts of time and money fighting the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The Foundation believes that the proposed Short Term Rental Law should mandate that STR permit holders provide information, requirements, and guidelines to renters. This is the best way to assure that renters understand how to care for the watershed. As an example, providing awareness on invasive species prevention measures would be one clear way to limit potential negative impacts of watercraft on the watershed.